You may remember that in the classic “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” Christmas carol, the Batmobile plays a vital role when it loses a wheel. Well, LEGO is leaning heavily into making sure that Bat-fans have that opportunity this holiday season. We recently reviewed the latest incarnation of the Tumbler, set 76240, which will be available November 1st. But why stop there? Also on November 1st (in north America – January 1st worldwide), LEGO will release a second version based on the upcoming The Batman movie. LEGO Technic DC – 42127 The Batman Batmobile is available for pre-order now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $99.99 | CAN $129.99 | UK £89.99. This 1360 piece set is priced to tempt a wider audience, but does it hold up to the other bat-offerings? Read on and see for yourself!
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
Unboxing the parts, instructions and sticker sheet
The Batman Batmobile comes packaged in a thumb-punch box with surprisingly limited graphics. The Batman and DC logos are stuck in the lower corners, with the LEGO and Technic labels getting much more screen time. The age range for the set is set at 10+, a pretty reasonable level as this set is a little tricky to put together at times.
The back of the box has a rear view of the car, with a blurb calling out the light brick functionality. Four inset shots call out the sets dimensions (45 cm/ 17.7″ in length), show off the interior, opening hood, and opening doors.
The manual is a 260 page, perfect-bound book. Unlike the more expensive Batman set in the “Adult collector” lines, this manual is pretty basic. There’s no information about the set or designers; it jumps directly into the building instructions. There are a couple of pages of Batman-themed stuff at the end, but that’s the extent of the movie tie-ins.
The set is mostly just common black (and sometimes very ,very dark grey) pieces, but there are a few standouts. Depending on the size of your collection, this might be the first time you see transparent engine block parts. There are also two light bricks (one red, one yellow) and a number of candle flames in transparent light blue.
Builders will probably be even more excited to see the wealth of great Technic panels that are included. The arched 15x2x5 mudguard is new in black, an excellent target for custom builds. The 2×3 panel has only appeared in black once before, in the 42123 McLaren Senna GTR. (That set had 2 – this set has 11 of them!)
You might have noticed there wasn’t a sticker sheet in the set content photo above. That’s because it was hiding inside the manual. I don’t know if this was just a lucky break since the manual is packed loose, or if this was a deliberate way for LEGO to try and keep the small sticker sheet intact in transit.
The sticker sheet helps keep the cost of this set down by avoiding printed parts. That said, I think most of these instrument panel images would have been nice to have in the regular rotation of LEGO printed gauges.
The set’s construction is very standard for a Technic set of this scale. (You might want to compare it to our review of LEGO Technic 42111 Dom’s Dodge Charger) There isn’t much to the gearing that will inspire experienced builders, but it is a great introductory set for someone just staring out with this sort of construction. The rear wheels are mounted on a differential, and the front wheels turn.
Thankfully LEGO didn’t go the stud-shooter/missile launcher route with this set. Instead, they focused on light as the play feature. This bit of gearing presses down on the activation knob on the red light brick that sits just in front of the engine.
The V-8 engine itself is a standard build, but enhanced a little by the addition of blue flames. They do cover up the moving pistons, though, making that feature a lot harder to observe.
The second light brick is mounted just in front of the cabin. A lever turns on the yellow glow that will light up the hood and front grille.
The next stages of build focus on adding the outer body to the car. This is actually a little tricky, as the instructions were a little tough to follow. I had to rebuild things a few times when I got things out of alignment. To be fair, I might have been just a little bit sleep-deprived when I was rushing to get this review done, so you might have an easier time of it.
Another early function to show up are the opening doors. As you can see, there’s not much to the feature, or to the doors themselves. It showcases the trade off between a more inexpensive model and the the parts that you can include when you’ve got twice the budget. It’s fine…but it could have been nicer. But for the price point this is a solid solution.
There are some interesting sections that got a lot of love from the designers, though. The front grille and the hood are both very interesting to look at. I’m not so sure about the logistics of the flames on the hood. The engine is mounted in the rear of the Batmobile, so where are these flames coming from? (Batman probably just put them in to look cool. I suspect he’s like that.)
The bodywork is far from seamless, but the look does match the “early days” and “modified stock car” feel that we’ve seen in the trailers.
The tail lights also have a bit of interesting construction, with red lightsaber blades providing a welcome touch of flair. Also worth noting are the struts that brace the roof – the use of rotated Technic connections means that the angles can be a bit “off standard” from other LEGO sets. The frame locks together very well; it’s surprisingly sturdy.
The interior of the Batmobile is a very lightweight build, with the controls all confined to this small section. I’m pretty “meh” about this area – the blue Technic pin in the center of the wheel looks really bad. The wheel also doesn’t link up to the steering functions, making it just for show. With that in mind, you think they could have designed this to use a black pin to mount the wheel instead.
The seats, however, are great. They’re minimalist, but have a stylish, functional look. A great design to re-use in other builds.
The last steps attach the wheels and hubcaps, and complete the bracing for the front window area. The only complaint is the steering wheel mounted on the roof – it stands out a bit and detracts from the idea that this is also meant to be a display piece. I suppose you could always pop it off and just have a small exposed Technic rod connection showing instead. At least the wheels turn. That’s something they didn’t even try to do with the Tumbler.
The finished model
When I first saw images of this set, I was pretty convinced that it was going to be a joke. Happily, in person this set feels like a decent addition to the Bat-fleet. Yes, it’s nowhere near as nice as it’s more expensive cousins, but it’s a solid offering for the price point.
From the front the only complaints are the lack of any glass in the window, and that knob on top. Otherwise the shaping seems accurate, and the front grille and hood look great.
The opening doors allow for easy access to the interior. Not that there’s a lot of interior to see, but a play feature is a play feature.
The light brick in the front does a good job of illuminating the hood area, but the activation is problematic. There’s no “steady on” position – you have to reach through the windscreen and hold the lever to activate the light. An exterior switch on the sided of the car would have been more tolerable, but as it is, this isn’t much of a play feature for anyone with adult-sized hands.
Opening the hood gives access to the light brick and not much else. Maybe Batman will use this space in the movie, but for now it’s not much of a perk.
The red light in the back is easier to activate – you just have to press down on the steering knob. It doesn’t lock into an “on” setting either, but it’s reasonable to imagine that you have to be “driving” for the engine to light up. The photo here was taken in a low-light setting to show off the colors.
In normal light, though, the effect is much less pronounced. Compare the unlit version on the left to the activated one on the right. You’d be forgiven for not spotting that there was a light brick involved at all.
The rear of the Batmobile has the latest iteration of the jet-exhaust. This is one action feature that I think the designers got exactly right.
When the car moves forward, the flames spin, creating a great billowing-fire effect.
At this point we’ve reached the end of the instructions, so here’s the one shot of the real Batmobile that’s included for comparison. As you can see, it matches up pretty well with its LEGO counterpart. Will it hold up when we get a better look at it on the silver screen? That’s hard to say, but I think it’ll will remain pretty close.
Comparison with other Batmobiles
The product description at LEGO.com for this set has the following:
Made for display – Enjoy exploring all the functions packed into this hot toy then place on display to admire its authentic looks
Well, if you’re going to be doing that, you might be putting it next to your other, similarly scaled LEGO Batmobiles. Luckily I happened to have a few on hand to give you a taste of what that would look like. Surprisingly, it almost looks more polished than the Tumbler – the decision to go with smooth Technic panels instead of exposed studs bridges the gap between it and the 1989 version.
As mentioned earlier, this set has a fraction of the pieces present in the larger models, so a 1:1 comparison really isn’t fair. But, even with that caveat, I think this model fits in nicely in the lineup. Time will tell if this version of the Batmobile becomes a fan favorite, but it’s not out of the question. But is it “iconic Batman” material? That’s less certain. (And really, more of a meta-concern than anything to do with this set.)
Conclusion and recommendation
I really didn’t expect to like this set, but after putting it together I found that I had really warmed to it. Yes, it has problems: It’s a less expensive set than the UCS-scaled Batmobiles, and the lack of parts does show in comparison. The heavily-touted light brick features work, but not well. And the construction can be a lot trickier than you might first think. But the gearing works, the other play features are solid, and the build is indeed fun and interesting. For $100 US, the price-per-part ratio is just over 7 cents-per, which is pretty reasonable for a licensed set with some new element colors and other rare pieces. It would make a good parts-pack for custom Technic automotive builders, a great introductory set for a Technic novice, and a decent display piece for a mainstream Bat-fan. If you don’t need another Tumbler in your life, or you just want to save some of your November 1st LEGO budget for other sets, this might be the Batmobile for you.
LEGO Technic DC – 42127 The Batman Batmobile is available for pre-order now from the LEGO Shop Online for US $99.99 | CAN $129.99 | UK £89.99. It will be released on November 1st in North America and January 1st worldwide. It may also be available via third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
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